Polar Record

Articles

The “prairie ice jigger”

W. M. Sprules

The term “prairie ice jigger” is a local name given by fishermen of western Canada to a simple but ingenious apparatus used to facilitate setting gill nets beneath an ice surface. A jigger consists of a board and two levers so arranged that a backward pull on a line attached to one lever is translated into a forward thrust which propels the board along beneath the ice. Thus only two holes need be chopped through the ice to set a standard net, and several nets can be set in different directions from any one hole. This represents a considerable saving in time and effort when compared with other methods such as pushing a pole with an attached line from hole to hole until sufficient line has been let out to accommodate a net. The jigger is almost a necessity to fishermen operating in northern areas of Canada, where winter fishing is carried on for several months beneath an ice cover which varies from several inches in thickness to as much as six feet.

(Received January 21 1957)